The Sick Lion

A lion, no longer able from the weakness of old age to hunt for his prey, laid himself up in his den. Breathing with great difficulty and speaking with a low voice, the lion gave out that he was very ill indeed. The report soon spread among the beasts and there was great lamentation for the sick lion. One after the other came to see him. Catching him thus alone, and in his own den, the lion made an easy prey of them and grew fat upon his diet.

The fox, suspecting the truth of the matter, came at length to make his visit of inquiry and, standing at some distance, asked his Majesty how he did. "Ah, my dearest friend," said the lion, "is it you? Why do you stand so far from me? Come, sweet friend, and pour a word of consolation in the poor lion's ear, who has but a short time to live."

"Bless you!" said the fox, "but excuse me if I cannot stay. For, to tell the truth, I feel quite uneasy at the mark of the footsteps that I see here, all pointing towards your den, and none returning outwards."

Affairs are easier of entrance than of exit and it is but common prudence to see our way out before we venture in.